TwoRuba is all gold and coffee-coloured furnishings complete with neon purple lighting – just to give it that nightclub feel
Another year, another hotel bar. Okay that’s not exactly true. I was meant to visit TwoRuba - the Hilton Tower Bridge’s new cocktail bar - last year, but never did. I’ve ranted about hotel bars quite a bit on these pages, and I wasn’t sure that TwoRuba was going to change my mind. However the once hip, now corporate, Borough Market and Bermondsey districts and their respective bars and restaurants are being crushed by the throngs of City folks and tourists, eager for a taste of the next big thing. The areas’ increase in property value is in direct correlation to their decrease in ‘hang-out’ value. Like Shoreditch to the north and the South Bank to the west, they’re in danger of becoming tourist-only zones.
So any bar in that locale that markets itself as ‘a place to unwind with a vibrant atmosphere and polished service’, is worth a look. TwoRuba pitches out its stall at City folk and foodies. Disappointingly located on the ground floor (I was hoping for an elevated view), TwoRuba is all gold and coffee-coloured furnishings complete with neon purple lighting – just to give it that nightclub feel. The large, luxuriant armchairs, modern chill-out music, and black and white uniformed waiting staff, leave you in no doubt that you are in a hotel, but one that you might find in North America – i.e. where you are happy to go for a drink.
Most of the other imbibers were a mix of hotel guests, local office workers, and possibly the odd romantic liaison. The atmosphere was sophisticated and elegant, but I think to call it vibrant would be a stretch.
The service was a tale of two cities. The Antipodean waitress was charming but slightly officious as is the want of people from my side of the world. The American waitress on the other hand was professional, suggestive without being intrusive, and confident enough to make recommendations. Very good in other words.
My friend and I went large on the sharing platters with crispy duck pancakes and hoisin, cucumber and spring onion; pulled pork sliders with chilli apple slaw; baby chorizo tossed in glaze, focaccia and aioli; salt and pepper squid, with lime crème fraiche; and TwoRuba fish tacos, pico de gallo and citrus dressing all gracing our table. They were fine, but in no way outstanding. The fish tacos were disappointing lacking in seasoning, the crispy duck was a little bit dry, and the squid was slightly overcooked. The pork sliders on the other hand were good. The drinks menu was much better. The Elegant - This light and floral tipple brings Hendricks Gin, elderflower syrup – was just that. The Gentleman - Martell VS stirred down with Punt E Mes, whiskey bitters and sugar cane – was much better than I expected. The bar suggested I give him a chance to show me his skills by mixing up a bespoke drink. The problem with these drinks is trying to describe the components in detail afterwards. So instead I’ll say simply that the whisky based drink was delicious.
TwoRuba will never pass itself off as anything other than a hotel cocktail bar, but it is comfortable in its skin and what it does, it mostly does very well. TwoRuba may not have completely changed my mind on hotel bars but it’s opened me up more to the possibilities.
From * to *****
Schmoozing and boozing ****
Wining and dining **1/2
Serving and Pouring ***
TwoRuba Hilton London Tower Bridge
5 More London Place
T: 020 3002 4300